AA: Lives At Risk Due To Street Light Blackouts

Money-Saving Measures By Local Authorities Criticised In Report

08.12.2014

The rising number of roads without street lighting is putting more lives at risk, and councils are contributing to this with money-saving "blackouts", the AA has claimed.

In a report obtained today by the Daily Mail, the motoring organisation drew attention to the way local authorities are often switching off street lights to save money, putting motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in danger.

The AA emphasised that accident rates in urban areas - particularly those with 40mph zones during spells of bad weather - are becoming a real cause for concern.

Citing official statistics, the report conceded that improvements in road safety had seen accidents in hours of darkness on busy roads with street lighting drop by close to a fifth (18.6 per cent) overall; this climbed to 24 per cent in rain, snow and ice.

However, when street lights were switched off or unavailable, these statistics dropped to 12 per cent and 16.7 per cent respectively.

The organisation concluded that "discontent with street-light blackouts threatens a backlash in next year's elections", particularly to the north and east of London.

Expert Opinion
The drive to become more energy efficient and reduce money spent on energy by local authorities is commendable, but it is important these measures do not have a negative impact on safety. These latest figures indicate turning street lights off is reducing the level of safety on a number of roads.

“It is important the findings of this report are taken into account and local authorities analyse their decisions to turn off street lights in some areas. We have seen first-hand the devastating impact a road traffic collision can have on those involved and it is vital everything possible is done to reduce the number of accidents, which may include lighting roads through the night.”
Jonathan Peacock, Partner